Bed Bugs & Assisted Living Facilities - Peake & Fowler

Infestation Problem at Assisted Living Facility Leads to State Findings of Neglect

After repeated complaints of a bed bug infestation at a Florence assisted living facility, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) conducted an onsite investigation into the Carriage House of Florence, resulting in a report highlighting persistent issues of patient neglect and unsanitary conditions at the facility, including insufficient food supplies. The Carriage House has submitted a plan of correction to the DHEC, but it remains to be seen how the facility will actually address the long list of complaints asserted by patients and employees. This case is a sad reminder of the abuse and neglect that our most vulnerable citizens can face in South Carolina nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

The DHEC conducted an unannounced inspection of Carriage House in early August in response to complaints of a bed bug infestation, as well as claims that there was a food shortage at the facility and that laundry was being washed with shampoo due to a lack of detergent. The DHEC report found that the facility violated state regulations requiring it to be free of vermin and offensive odors. The report also found that the facility violated state regulations requiring it to keep at least two days of food supplies for facility residents. Residents speaking with local news organizations complained of not being served food that was promised them and of having limited rations on a regular basis.

At least five employees of the facility were reportedly suspended following the reports of the complaints. Carriage House submitted a plan of correction to the DHEC indicating that 33 of the facility’s 80 bedrooms were treated for infestation, and that it determined that 10 bedrooms were infested with bedbugs. The facility indicated it would be ordering new mattresses and treating clothing and linens with procedures to reduce the risk of further infestation.

This is only the most recent of eight complaint investigations undertaken by the DHEC against Carriage House in the past year. The DHEC has also determined in recent investigations that Carriage House violated state regulations by failing to provide sufficient toilet paper to residents, failing to provide sufficient menu options, failing to provide adequate cleaning supplies, failing to provide personal allowance schedules, and admitting a patient who needed continuous care from a licensed nurse. Other complaints from residents submitted to the DHEC related to the quality of food provided to residents and low morale of patients and staff members not conducive to care.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, call on the attorneys at Peake & Fowler for assistance.